fata morgana


Joel Chace





Corridor in — in a

lake.  Hallway, _____________The relationship between philosophy

                                                   and architecture is inter-

                                                   rogative and propositional.  It

                                                   is about asking questions concerning the

                                                   meaning of human ha-


at lake bottom.  Of

water:  ceiling, walls,

floor where he moves __________________...that the main task of arch-

                                                                        itecture is the interpretation

                                                                        of a way of life…

forward, with clip-

board, pen.  On each side,

watery doors ___________________They do not last long, but change as

                                                            the vapors in which they ap-

                                                           pear, from one place to another.

open, hands thrust

documents towards him.

He signs, signs,

advances, signs.  That

corridor.  That life.







There’s a way up,

out, one path out, ____________________Its implicit admission that all

                                                                     this may be a put-on, may not

                                                                     be worth your while.  The poi-

                                                                     gnancy of this situation

                                                                     heightens our response.

up from the cor-

ridor, but

he’s so tired.







In a raised well.  A

clear, invisible __________________And although these colors have left

                                                            no visible traces of themselves,

                                                            they nevertheless burn in-

                                                            sidiously in the non-

                                                            color that has replaced them.

well brought up into

light, into a space.  As if

he speaks from within a

column of glass air.  As ______The whole mountain was in a trembling

                                                   motion; one part collapsed and left

                                                   behind a great valley; a new

                                                   peak arose, higher than before;

                                                   and next to this se-

                                                   veral others, cone-shaped,

                                                   but immediately as-

                                                   summed the form of immense rectangular

                                                   towers, which likewise tumbled in

                                                   a moment and opened huge valleys.

if he is a Banquo come

back to tell them he

didn’t deserve twenty

mortal murders on his

head, that he can just

barely be in their

world anymore, that those

he returns to instruct or __________In one and the same act, philosophy

                                                          and architecture enclose man in

                                                          their shell and structure, and dis-

                                                          close open vistas, new ho-

                                                          rizons, spiritual

                                                          possibilities of expansion

                                                          and self-realization.

murder will not stay murdered

or instructed, unlike

a Banquo who returns but

cannot be unmur-

dered or stay for long in

the well in the light, ___________In this same sea yet another won-

                                                      der:  when the storm ceases and the air

                                                      becomes still, at dawn,

                                                      changing images of an-

                                                      imals and men in the air.

that well, raised up.







When it rises, __________________________Thus, the final stand-

                                                                           ard of architectural val-

                                                                           ue for some is the ethical.

he spends weeks huf-

fing from one gleaming hallway

to the next, never

certain, arriving minutes

after others have given ____________Some are quite motion-

                                                             less, some run through air, some

                                                             fight among themselves, and last e-

                                                            ven until the Sun gains strength,

                                                            in whose heat all disappear.

up and left:  too many cor-

ners; too many stairs. ___________________We should evaluate build-

                                                                          ings according to how well

                                                                          they make possible de-

                                                                          sired forms of life.







Odd room to enter:  re-

dolent of a-

bandonment even _________________________Some plea-

                                                                              sure is really

                                                                              something else:  to name

                                                                              it would be to see it va-


when occupied.  Each day

a palimpsest of air

hangs, with the last

layer fluttering be- __________________They soon climbed to 2 degrees

                                                                   height, but then began

                                                                   to take on man-

                                                                   ifold forms, and this disp-

                                                                   lay convinced me that they

                                                                   were something quite

                                                                   different from clouds.

hind once the final

visitor departs.  Then

he wanders to a bank of

windows.  Early-winter,

late-afternoon gray

reflects steeples and lights down

in the village back into

the space at his back, to which

he turns, thinking, “Is design

luck’s residue?  Is it time

for a new philosophy

of rooms that deserve ______________Philosophy and architecture have

                                                               the coming task of hea-

                                                               ling the split of knowledge and

                                                               feeling, of indi-

                                                               vidual and community.

sorrow?  Is there nothing in

the dark that’s not

there in the light?”







Whole side of the old

building, whole old side, falls _____________There is a power to fix for

                                                                           eternity the disappearance

                                                                           of that which pre-

                                                                           sents itself, or the

                                                                           power to prod-

                                                                           uce presence itself

                                                                           as Idea.

outward.  He

stands directly in

the collapse-path.  What smashes

over him  —  a large window ____________Standing at the casement, I

                                                                       finally saw it, a mountain ri-

                                                                       sing from the sea about 60

                                                                       Italian miles away, like

                                                                       a dark-blue cloud.

                                                                       I became ve-

                                                                       ry uneasy.

pane, his still upright

body exactly at its

center.  All the shards that ________________They aren’t all-

                                                                          usions or comments,

                                                                          however ob-

                                                                          lique.  They are themselves

                                                                          what is ha-


scatter do him no harm:  the

weather frigid; his heavy

cap and coat prevent

even the tiniest scratch.









Joel Chace has published work in print and electronic magazines including The Tip of the Knife, Counterexample Poetics, OR, Country Music, Infinity’s Kitchen, Jacket and E·ratio.  His collections include Sharpsburg (Cy Gist Press), Blake’s Tree (Blue & Yellow Dog Press), Whole Cloth (Avantacular Press), Red Power (Quarter After Press), Kansoz (Knives, Forks, and Spoons Press) and Web Too (Tonerworks).